Spying on Feds, Putting IRS Agents at the Border and Other Ideas From Presidential Hopefuls

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wants to eliminate the IRS. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wants to eliminate the IRS. Susan Walsh/Associated Press

The 2016 presidential contenders have -- throughout their political careers and in the opening days of their bourgeoning campaigns -- laid out some interesting proposals for restructuring the federal workforce.

From extended pay freezes to eliminating agencies, government reforms have featured prominently in the candidates’ specific policy proposals. As the campaigns have kicked into gear, the presidential hopefuls have continued to come up with novel ideas for improving the performance of federal employees.

On Wednesday, noted former neurosurgeon Ben Carson told a crowd in Iowa the federal government should create a “covert division” of federal workers to monitor their coworkers. According to an MSNBC report, Carson said the employees would act like everyone else at a given agency, but would “monitor what government people do.”

Feds would work harder if they knew people were secretly watching them, Carson speculated, “and we make it possible to fire government people.” A Carson spokesman told MSNBC the internal spying program would operate like a retail store’s “secret shopper,” used as a “quality control” to improve customer service.

Earlier in the week, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said at the North Carolina Republican convention he would like to institute a flat tax, thereby eliminating the need for the Internal Revenue Service. Cruz’s call to do away with Americans' least favorite agency is hardly unusual for a 2016 Republican contender; several candidates have called for the same.

What Cruz would do with the 90,000 IRS employees, however, is unique: deploy them to the U.S. border with Mexico.

“If the first thing you see is 90,000 IRS agents, you’d turn around and go home too,” he said of immigrants, according to The News & Observer. While Cruz was very serious about his IRS elimination strategy, his proposed deployment of IRS personnel to the southwest border appeared to be a joke.

At least one presidential candidate weighed in on the Office of Personnel Management data hack that led to the compromise of personal information for 4 million former and current federal employees.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., posted on his Facebook page that the data breach could lead to a “cyber Pearl Harbor” if the government does not “invest in the proper infrastructure to protect our nation.” The failures of the Obama administration have led to America being “walked all over by our rivals and adversaries.” 

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